The 2018 GW Law Student Guide to Job Searching Over Winter Break
After fall semester exams, it’s time to start thinking about your summer job search! Here’s your guide to job searching over winter break.
Most law students, especially 1Ls, begin applying for summer positions over winter break and continue to apply throughout the spring semester. Typically, interviews begin in January and offers are made starting in February through April and May.
Finalize your legal resume and a cover letter template
Before you apply to summer positions, your resume and cover letter must be updated and properly formatted for legal employment, polished, and ready to go.
Need more help with your resume or cover letter?
Make an appointment with your career counselor. The Career Center is open during winter break, through December 21, 2018, and again on January 2, 2019, to help you polish up your application documents and develop a personalized job search plan. If you are out of town, phone appointments are also available.
Create a list or spreadsheet of each opening you apply to that includes at a minimum: the name of the office, materials you sent (e.g., cover letter, resume, writing sample), the date and method you sent them (some offices, particularly judges, still prefer mailed paper applications), and a screenshot or pasted copy of the text of the job description (if you applied to a particular listing). You’ll need the details in the job posting if you’re asked to interview, and the posting may be expired or deleted from the web by the time you receive an interview request.
Prepare your writing sample
Some employers will require a writing sample as part of your application package. Only send a writing sample if it is requested. Most 1Ls should use an edited, excerpted version of an open research memorandum from their first semester legal writing course.
Schedule informational interviews
Schedule informational interviews with attorneys in your area over winter break to begin developing your own professional network. Review our 4-step guide to informational interviews for advice on identifying professionals, sending invitations, and conducting the informational interviews.
Register to attend holiday receptions
Law firms nationwide host networking receptions over winter break to begin meeting the newest class of law students visiting family at home during the holidays. These receptions primarily target students in the Class of 2021 (1Ls). Although most large law firms do little to no 1L hiring for the summer after the first year of law school, “Home for the Holidays” receptions are focused on getting to know potential candidates for OCI. Current 1Ls will begin the OCI process in the summer of 2019, and Home for the Holidays receptions are the first recruiting events targeting candidates for the summer of 2020 (yes, you read that right, firms are already scouting candidates for summer associates in 2020!). If you are interested in a firm or office not on this list, you may reach out to the firm directly to inquire about local receptions.
Get ready for PSRP
The annual GW – Georgetown Public Sector Recruiting Program will take place on Friday, January 25, 2019. This program has three components: an interview program, a “Table Talk” networking event, and an online resume collection. The interview program and resume collection require students to submit applications online in advance: applications to interview are due Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 5pm, and resume collection applications are due Jan. 16 at 5pm. The “Table Talk” program is open to all students and doesn’t require you to apply in advance. PSRP is exclusively for GW and Georgetown students and is the premiere event for public sector job opportunities for Summer 2019. Detailed application instructions and log-in information will be emailed to students after the Fall 2018 exam period.
- PSRP Application Period Opens – Friday, December 14 (apply in Symplicity)
- PSRP Information Session Webinar – Thursday, January 3 @ 5pm (register in CORE)
- PSRP Interview Program Application Deadline – Tuesday, January 8 @ 5pm
- PSRP Orientation – Wednesday, January 9 at 12pm (register in CORE)
- PSRP Resume Collection Deadline – Wednesday, January 16 @ 5pm
- PSRP Job Fair & Table Talk – Friday, January 25, 2019
Start applying for summer internships
Begin by researching employers participating in PSRP and see feedback from past GW Law students in the Summer Employment Evaluations database (note: portal log-in is required for this resource). The “Job Listings” in CORE are the first place most students look for job listings, but there are several other great resources for job listings. For example, the Government Honors and Internship Handbook includes a comprehensive guide to government internships.
Consider diversity-related opportunities
This time of year tends to be the peak season for diversity-related opportunities for 1Ls. While most of the positions available are in law firms and corporate legal departments, there are a few in the government and with judges. If you are a 2L or 3L, please note that there are also a handful of opportunities available to you as well. All students should periodically check CORE and this table of opportunities/upcoming deadlines, both of which are updated regularly. Often, these opportunities require a diversity personal statement in addition to the other standard application materials. If you have any questions or concerns about these opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get ready for legal interviewing
Sign-up to do a mock interview in our office to ensure that you are fully prepared for your job interviews. You may also plan to attend an Interview Skills workshop at the Career Center in January (more information and registration will soon be available in CORE).